Dental health for children
Dental health for children is a very important concern for parents. Kids dental care needs to be specific to their needs.
To ensure good oral health for children, it is essential to know their teething schedules. Usually a child will start teething anytime around the time he or she is six months old. The first teeth to appear are the incisors in the lower jaw and then the upper four incisors.
Teething will continue until the child has all twenty of his or her primary teeth when he is three years old. Most children get about four new teeth every four months or so. This first set of teeth is called milk teeth. Milk teeth begin falling when the child is about 6-7 years old, and new permanent teeth replace the milk teeth. This process is complete when the 2nd molars fall off at the age of 11-13 years old. Permanent teeth continue to grow until your child gets his or wisdom teeth at the age of about 17-22 years old. It is thus very essential for you to ensure that your child has good dental care during this entire process.
Pay attention to children’s oral health right from the time they start teething; do not wait till they have permanent teeth. You do not need to start using a tooth brush right away. You can simply use a moist clean soft cloth to wipe the newly erupting teeth and gums. You can introduce the tooth brush when the child is about a year old.
Tips to help you look after your child’s oral health:
Do take your child to the dentist to check oral health from the time the first couple of teeth begin erupting. Children’s oral health is very important as the health of their milk teeth will play an important role in the health of their permanent teeth. Some kids have a habit of falling asleep while drinking their milk or sucking on some juice from a bottle or with candy in their mouths. This puts their dental health at a risk. Even if your child does not have these habits do have your children’s oral health evaluated by a dentist from time to time.
Sometimes bad or weak teeth can be inherited. Maybe the parents suffered from some dental disease. In such cases you need to be extra careful. In socio-economically poor families there may be lack of proper nutrition and hygiene; children coming from such families need their dental health taken care of.
Sometimes children have habits such as sucking their thumbs, fingers or pacifiers, these kids need to have their teeth checked for alignment. Prolonged sucking of thumbs or pacifiers may lead to a need for dental braces at a later age.
To ensure your child has good dental health, make sure he eats a balanced diet and healthy foods. Avoid giving the child too many sodas, sweets and chocolates. Ensure that your child gets some amount of fluoride in his diet.
Sealants are generally used to protect kid’s teeth from caries. Sealants are a coating material that is applied to teeth to protect them from the damaging effect of too many sweets or sticky foods that may remain due to improper brushing. Though it may not be necessary to use sealants if good brushing habits are inculcated, it is worth looking at them as an option to further protect kid’s oral health.
The above tips can help improve children’s dental care. Parents should take responsibility to educate and improve the dental health of children. For more information please visit the HRSA’s official website.